I had just arrived in Kansas City, Kansas. Most people are unaware that there are two cities residing side by side, separated by a river and a State line with the same name, Kansas City. Now, on the Missouri side, that Kansas City has most of the amenities; baseball, football teams, museums, theaters, and the like although, we on the right side of the line are catching up. But those on the Kansas side are resentful that the Missouri side took our name. In fact, most people are not aware of the border war which still exists between these two cities. For example, if you drive down State line road, the houses on one side will be in Missouri, while houses on the other side are in Kansas. It is that close. Some politicians have proposed erasing that State line , they have been defeated every time unanimously.
You may ask, “What are the differences between the two States?” Missouri Law is not as friendly as Kansas Law. In Missouri, the schools are not good at all. They are underfunded. Right now, the State has taken over the running of the schools. Not so in Kansas, we have excellent schools. We support our schools with tax money. In Missouri, everything seems to be taxed. You want a bridge, make people pay a toll to use it. They wanted to build a museum for children, and to find the money to build it, they put a surcharge on dining bills. We in Wyandotte County said no, when it was proposed here, but then if you wanted to eat out, you had to go to Missouri. You ended up paying the tax anyway. The second time around, even those in Missouri voted the proposition down. In Kansas City Missouri, there is an earnings tax. If you work in Missouri, they take money out of your paycheck for their fire and police services. We don’t. And many who live in Missouri work here to avoid that tax. Missouri is a lousy State.
After quitting my teaching job, I worked for an employment agency. We were in the depths of a recession. Businesses hired people just to tell callers they were not accepting applications. Needless to say, that job did not last long either.
The only recourse I had was substitute teaching. I applied at various school districts. I felt like a circuit rider. But, it was work, and I needed the money. I contracted pneumonia. During that time, I used to smoke. Think about all the germs you inhale through your mouth while drawing in smoke. I nearly died. I had a high temperature, had to bring it down with cold baths. Breathing was like having razor blades cutting my lungs. I hurt with every breath I took.
When I was well enough to walk, and my lungs still hurt, I got a call from Linwood Kansas to sub there. I had turned them down previously, but this time I took the call.
Linwood is West of Kansas City, it is either in Leavenworth County or close enough to it. At the time, Linwood was holding onto their school, and were not absorbed by consolidation. The classes were small. I would say no more than ten students to a classroom.
I worked through the day, my lungs burned like Hell, when I turned in my material, all I could think about was going home. I got into my car, and made a U turn back on the road going home. I made the U turn in front of the town Marshall. To tell the truth, I did not care who he was, I just wanted to get home.
I noticed a police car following me, so I slowed down. There was no siren, no lights indicating he wanted me to turn to the side of the road. I was unaware that I had made a U turn in front of him. But he gave no indication he was really after me. At the city ‘s boundary, he turned back.
Bonner Springs School sits on a hill. I had taught there several times. A kid who was probably on dope threw a chair at me. I have no idea why. He missed thank God . It was a very heavy chair. I got blamed for the incident, and they refused to use me after that.
But anyway, I was proceeding down the hill, away from the Bonner School, when I noticed the traffic on the other side of the highway was going very slow. When I looked at the bottom of the hill, I saw why. A Bonner Springs cop had a shotgun leveled at me. He motioned with the gun to pull over, which I did. As I was pulling over, I noticed another police car behind me. He was ready to give chase had I not pulled over.
You can imagine my fright. When asked for my driver’s license, I could only hand my bill fold over saying, ” You do it!”
“Were you in Linwood, asked the cop? I explained how I had been substituting at the local school, and how I was hoping to get home because I was sick. He got into the front seat with me, and I told him about myself. I talked for perhaps thirty minutes. The guns were put away, and I was breathing a lot easier.
After we talked, the town Marshall arrived. He wore silver sunglasses, a sheep skin vest with a badge pinned to it, he wore a Colt 45 , hung low as if he were a gun slinger. “That’s him, ” were the first words out of his mouth.
As he said that, he was grabbed and drug over to the trunk of my car. His face was smashed into my rear window. I heard one of the cops say; ” You called us out on a traffic violation! “
They let him up[, and he advanced towards me and said; ” You will have to come back to Linwood with me, so I can write you up.”
I said; “First, what are the charges?” He said, ” A high speed chase, making a U turn, and running a stop sign.” I never did see a stop sign. Later when I went too look for it, it was up on a telephone pole ten feet up in the air. Unless you knew it was there, anyone would have missed it. As for the high speed chase both me and the cops laughed at him.
I said; “I am not going back with you. Whatever you do, do it here.” He wrote the ticket minus the high speed chase, and I signed it.
Linwood had a Circuit Rider Judge who came to the town once a month. The Court was held in a small house. When I arrived, the place was jammed with people. A student came over to me and said;” When your case is over, you are going to have to hear about this old couple who was parked on grass, but was supposed to be a sidewalk. The Marshall shot their tires out. Why, I have no idea.”
As tempting as that sounded, I told the kid; ” You see that stop sign, and the one up from there. I am going to stop at both signs, and then turn East and go home.”
When my time came, the judge read the charges I had agreed to. I pleaded guilty, and was fined $25.00.
I was about to pay my fine when the Marshall rose and interrupted the proceedings. “Your Honor, there was another matter… .” I cut him off; ” Your honor, that matter has been settled, the charges were as you read…” The Judge agreed, and I paid my fine.
I had intended never to step into Linwood ever again, and for ten years, I didn’t. But, I had a delivery service, and a client wanted me to deliver something to a store in Linwood. When I was delivering my goods, I asked the store owner how the Marshall was doing?
“We ain’t got a town Marshall any more,” stated the store owner.
Being curious, I asked ; “How is that?”
The man leaned back in a chair, and said ; ” Well, there was this drunk Indian , and the Marshall tried to arrest him. The Indian knocked the Marshal in the head, knocked him out cold, stole his gun and lit out. No one went looking for that Indian, and soon the Marshall just left town.”
I chuckled. I bet the people of Linwood sleep better knowing they don’t have a Marshall any more.